This is the blog for Dream of Italy™, The Insider's Guide to Undiscovered Italy, a paid subscription travel newsletter. Dream of Italy™ (www.dreamofitaly.com) has been recommended by USA TODAY, National Geographic Traveler, U.S. News & World Report and American Way. Editor Kathy McCabe has helped thousands of travelers get the most out of their visits to Italy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

An Italian Pet Report

Are you an animal lover? Ever wonder about Italians and their pets? While many Italians are passionate about animals – and indeed even travel with their cats and dogs – according to the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, animal abandonment reaches a high during the summer months. Here are some facts about Italians and their pets :

  • 6.9 million dogs, 7.4 million cats, and, in total, 59.5 million pets are owned in Italy. It is calculated that Italians spend roughly 3 billion euros per year on their four-legged friends.
  • Unfortunately, a good number of animals are abandoned every year in Italy, particularly during the summer months. You will see many of these poor dogs and cats particularly in southern Italy -- do them a favor and feed them a little something or give them some fresh water. The new law 189 allows for up to three years of imprisonment for abandonment of mistreatment of household pets.
  • Since October 1st of last year, European Union citizens are obliged to obtain a passport for their pets, (dogs, cats and ferrets only), when traveling from country to country.
  • All airlines have their own particular regulations, but animals (in crates of the appropriate size) are allowed on most all flights. Alitalia even allows small dogs to travel with you in the cabin! Once in Italy, keep in mind that boats, ferries, and Eurostar trains only allows small dogs on board. Most metropolitan buses allow dogs on board in the rear compartment of the vehicle—but they must have a ticket!
  • If you’re traveling by car with dogs, keep in mind that many rest stops do not have facilities that cater to animals, so it’s a good idea to bring your own food and water dishes for your pets.
  • Visit http://www.travelpets.com/ for a listing of Italian hotels that allow pets.

    -- Cailin Birch

(Cooper, in the photo above, is the official Dream of Italy dog. Due to his passion for food and la dolce vita (i.e. lying in front of the air conditioner right now), this humble fox terrier is sure he was an Italian in a former life. If you ever call the Dream of Italy office, you might just hear him bark -- he likes to alert us that the phone is ringing.)


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